Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Journey

Have you ever considered all the decisions that popped up throughout life bringing you to the place you are today?

The first major decision that steered me in the direction of where I am now was made not by me, but by my father when I was four years old. He decided I was to go live with my grandmother in a small town in Wisconsin, hundreds of miles from my birthplace.

Throughout the years I can see one decision after another directing me this way or that. I picture it as an ant climbing a tree deciding which limb to explore, which branch to exit on. Eventually the ant reaches the tip, possibly forty feet from the opposite side of the tree...and a view he will never experience.

Where would I be if not for the decisions made by me or someone else close to me? Or, of even more importance.....WHO would I be? So many people have influenced my life…helped me become who I am today. What if I had never met them?

I said before, “The first major decision”, but perhaps, maybe every decision we make is a MAJOR one.

Hmmm.......Just something to ponder.

"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in my mother's womb, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." ~~ Psalm 139:15,16

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Consider the Lily

When given warmth and nourishment, the budded Lily awakens.

So it is with humankind.

"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." ~~Psalm 105:4

The painting "Lily Awakened" courtesy of my paintbrush :-)
From a photo by Russell McGeorge

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dealing with a Creative Personality

Sometimes, to keep a marriage on an even keel, you just have to accept your spouse for who he/she is. I put my husband to the test recently....and happy to say, he passed. He sighed, rolled his eyes at me, but he passed.

We were heading to San Diego to escape the heat. I casually mentioned I had to make a side trip to LaJolla. Not that he didn't enjoy La Jolla, but he wondered what was drawing me there.

"Well....I have to take a picture" was all he got from me.

"A picture of what?"

"A tree."

"What tree?"

"I'm not sure which one...but when I see it, I'll know it."

"Where is it?"

"Well...I think I know the street, but I don't know for sure until we get there."

"What's so special about the tree?"

"The bark."


"The bark. I need to get a picture of the bark."

By this time I think he was ready to give up on the conversation and go into his silent mode. Let me explain....he knows me well....we've been married for 42 years. But, I proceeded to tell him I needed the picture of the bark so I could try creating an abstract painting. I once photographed the bark on another trip but lost the photos.

This is when he rolled his eyes.

I've never painted abstract before. I enjoy some abstract paintings, but my paintings always turn out to be representational. I assumed that painting tree bark would help me produce an abstract.

Well, I've completed the painting but couldn't break free of my representational slant. I call it "Risen Life". There is a figure hidden in it, one that is experiencing a resurrection not visible to the human eye.

Resurrection God, you bring life to that which was dead. You bring joy to our sorrow, comfort for our pain. You call us out of the graves of greed, isolation, depression, distrust, fear, and indifference to come alive with your Risen Life.

~Child, you have nothing to fear. Sin, too, is conquered and forgiven, as you live and move and work with Me. All that depresses you, all that you fear, are powerless to harm you. They are but phantoms. Let nothing hinder your Risen Life. Rise from your fears and go out into the sunlight to meet Me, your Risen Lord.~

P.S. My husband likes it.

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." ~Isaiah 60:1

Monday, September 10, 2007

Remember Me

Zero in.

That's what I told myself in my August 31 post.
A restlessness has taken up residence in my being.
Too many interests are competing for my attention.

Remember me

Zero in ~~focus, organize, eliminate.
Find which path to follow, where to concentrate my efforts.

Remember me


Remember me


Thank you for reminding me Lord. Zero in on you and everything will fall into place.

I'm waiting.

Excuse me now while I curl up in my Abba Father's lap and spend some long-overdue quality time.

"Ultimate worship takes place when we, like children, find ourselves climbing into the lap of our heavenly Father with the desire just to be with him. At that moment there is no agenda other than to sit in his presence, to love him, to whisper in his ear our gratitude, to feel his face, to hear his heart, to rest in his embrace, to enjoy the moment, and to understand more fully the God who yearns to enjoy us." ~George Skramstad, quoted in Renovare Perspective, Vol 7, No. 4

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5,6

Picture courtesy of

Friday, August 31, 2007


Every parent at one time or another hears the words, “I’m bored. What can I do?” Then you begin to play the “Yes, but…” game.
“You could ride your bike.”
“Yes, but it’s hot outside.”
“You could go to the library to get new books.”
“Yes, but I can't find my library card”
“You could paint a picture.”
“Yes, but I don’t feel like getting out all of my supplies.”
“You could clean your room.”
HA! This is where the “Yes but…” game usually ends.

I think I’m in a “Yes, but…” mode. I have so many interests to fill my time, but I find myself unable to zero in on anything. Maybe I have too many interests. It’s time to simplify.

My craft closet is filled with tools, supplies, equipment, how-two books, you name it. These are my treasures. Half of the closet space is taken up with items that I use…what?...maybe once a year? But I can’t seem to let go of them. I might need them soon. Let’s see….when was the last time I made handmade paper? Last year? Two years ago? But what if I decide I need some for a special project? I can’t get rid of my screen and the scrap paper I use for the paper pulp. Or can I?


How about scrapbooking supplies? I have gazillion sheets of decorative papers, rubber stamps, fancy-cut scissors, but have I done a scrapbook yet? No. But wait…don’t throw them out. I can use them for homemade greeting cards…of which I might make about two or three a year. Is that worth taking up half of the closet?


Where are my interests? Maybe by looking at my reference library I’ll get a clue. The majority of books are on painting and writing. But even the art books are diverse. Will it be watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, or drawing with colored pencils?


Get rid of some of my treasures.
It’s going to take courage, but to accomplish something, I must zero in.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Love of God is Greater Than Tongue or Pen Can Tell

"Religion is nothing but a crutch," a friend of mine told me many years ago. Back then I believed in religion…trying to be a good person, going to church, all that kind of stuff. Today I still believe in an "r" word, but it’s no longer religion, it’s relationship… a relationship with the Living God. There is a difference.

Since starting this blog, I’ve been spending more time reading at the computer. It’s been a blessing – and a curse. A blessing because I’m exposed to so many points of view, but a curse because I allow it to take too much of my time. The internet could definitely become an addiction. AGGH!!

Anyway, I’ve read a number of articles and posts ridiculing anyone who would believe that God exists and would consider worshipping Him. They call us stupid, crazy, gullible or whatever. It’s sad. They turn their backs on a love greater than anything this earthly life could offer them.

That love was so evident while I was going through a cancer crisis recently. He knows me completely and would "speak" to me in ways that I would recognize it was him. Some might call them coincidences, but how many coincidences have to occur before they are no longer coincidences?

Yup! I’m no longer religious…I’m a Christ follower instead. He is far better than a crutch. I don’t have to lean on him; instead he sweeps me up into his loving arms and carries me.

Isaiah 43:3 "...You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you. "
Thank you Lord. I love you too.


Friday, August 24, 2007

This Moment in Time

There are no guarantees. We live from day to day as if there were, but who’s to say we will be here tomorrow?

Returning back to work after my vacation, I learned the sad news that the wife of a coworker had died suddenly, unexpectedly from a brain aneurism. She was here last Friday, living her daily routine, expecting to be here today.....…but she’s not. Today is her memorial service.

There are no guarantees.

The thought that each moment is a precious gift has been magnified today.

This moment........…how will I spend this moment?

How do I make it count?
Will I make it count?
Please Lord, help me to make it count.

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." ~~James 3:13-15

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Well.......not really.

I'm a poor example of a fisherwoman. I don't like to touch worms, and I feel sorry for the fish.
But on the positive side, I do like to float out in the middle of a lake in a rowboat and listen to the gentle waves slapping the side of the boat. But if I were to spend the whole day fishing out there, my boat would have to have an upholstered seat and pillows like the Venetian gondolas. Oh, an a supply of books to read and possibly a box of chocolates. The nutty kind. Then I could really enjoy fishing...but only if someone baits the hook, holds the pole, and throws the fish back after catching it.

Back to reality...actually, we're heading to San Diego (probably along with thousands of other Phonicians) to get out of the HEAT!

See ya.

At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn't see who he was. He called out, "Friends, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. Then he said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get pleanty of fish!" So they did, and they couldn't draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. ~John 21:4-6

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Storybook Tree

Find a tree…any mature tree …. and I bet it could tell you a story or two. Most trees are filled with stories if only they could speak to us. Maybe they do….we just have to listen closely.

This beautiful Texas Ebony tree that was planted 30 years ago to shade our driveway from the blistering afternoon sun has witnessed so many events. Please allow it to share a few with you. Thank you.

Year after year, I watched young Tracy hop into the car with her piano books in hand and set out for the weekly piano lesson.
Recently I proudly watched as Tracy once again entered the car to head back home to Colorado and then on to Africa to be a music worship leader for missionary women.

I remember standing silently in the dark evening as Dana appeared at the front door, heading out in her "I Dream of Jeannie" costume for a night of trick-or-treating.
And years later, I celebrated as Dana carefully tucked her wedding dress into the car and ventured out to experience her dream-come-true.

I gladly provided shade and orange-scented blossoms as Emily hosted a tea party under my branches for her teddy bears and baby dolls.
And years later I breathed a gentle, Ohhh…, as I watched Emily step from her car with newborn baby Nathan.

I clapped my branches after little Matthew made his first basket through the hoop that Dad had just installed at the driveway's edge.
And years later I shaded Matthew’s truck as he and Mom packed it for his long trip to Denver, saying goodbye to the home he had known since birth. I can honestly say I shed a few sappy tears along with Mom.

I sadly remember the night Dad and Mom put Sherman into the car and drove off to the Emergency Animal Hospital.
And I remember them returning….alone.

Yes, the Texas Ebony is our family’s storybook tree. There are so many more stories it could share if we had time to listen.

If you're still reading...then you have arrived at the real reason I’m writing this post. Finally! Plan now to write the story about YOUR life. I recorded my childhood memories, because my children have experienced a totally different lifestyle growing up in a large desert city than I did as a child in a small town in Wisconsin. I wanted them to "know" their mom and her experiences as a small girl. The book offers no exciting plot...just lots of recorded memories in a very thin bound book to be past down to future generations. I don't want the history of our family to be lost.

Don’t lose yours either.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice!... Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord! For the Lord is coming! ... ~Psalm 96:11,12

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How About a Little Help Here?

I really must contact the public library with a suggestion. Wheelbarrows. Yes, wheelbarrows -- stacked at the door for its patrons.

I visited the main library today. A familiar thrill bubbled up in me as the double doors sensed my approach and politely opened for my arrival.
You see, everytime I enter this huge 5-story building, I'm like an alley cat that's been accidentally locked in a fish market overnight. Such a feast! Where do I start?

But today my time is limited. I must restrain myself and settle for a small nibble; an audio book I've reserved is now waiting for me on the "hold" shelf.

Okay now Suz, with audio book in hand go directly to checkout, do not pass bookshelves, do not collect 200 books.

One audio book, four DVD's, seven art books, and three how-to writing books later, I make my way to the elevator. Juggling my treasures in both arms, using my chin to secure them, I press the elevator button with my elbow. It's at this time I think, "Good heavens, I sure could use a wheelbarrow about now!"

Thus, my suggestion.

P.S. Because of my desire for so many books at each visit, I have a problem keeping track of them. Maybe that explains my $9.00 library fine!

"Do not store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." ~Matthew 6:19-21

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Desert Fantasy...NOT!

rain (reyn), noun. 1. water that is condensed from the aqueous vapor in the atmosphere and falls in drops from the sky to the earth.
2. a rainfall, rainstorm, or shower.

It was necessary for me to check the dictionary to be sure that what I was witnessing outside was what I understood rain to be. Sure enough, that’s what was happening. We haven’t seen much of the stuff here in Phoenix for the past few years.

It started as a true desert storm, with the dark cloud buildup and wild winds whipping up the dust and causing my plastic patio chairs to do summersaults across the yard. Then came the first flash of lightning off in the distance. As the thunder grew louder I began to pray that this not be just another all-talk-and-no-action storm leaving the crocodile-skinned soil still begging for relief.

I stood at the door and shouted, "COME ON!! YOU CAN DO IT! GO AHEAD, LET LOOSE. SHOW US WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF!"

I waited.
Even the wind died.

Then slowly, a few wet marks appeared on the concrete patio, but rapidly the drops grew in number until the rain gutters were overflowing causing our patio to flood. Yes it really happened. Not just one of those pretend rains that deposit a few damp circles on the sidewalk to tease you into thinking that you should run to turn off the automatic sprinkler system. No. This was an all out gusher -- the whole shebang.

My plants and I are thankful.

"The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." Isaiah 55:10,11

Friday, July 20, 2007

Results of the Primo Paintbox

While walking home from Starbucks one day, I snatched this dying leaf from a tree.
As I looked closely studying the veins, I thought...

Okay now. This leaf was green at one time – a mixture of blue and yellow – no trace of red in it. (The artist in me is speaking here) Yet this leaf has turned red.

The color green could just as easily fade from the leaf upon death and become an ashen gray like the one on the right. But, it doesn't.

Maybe because this world is created by the Master Artist?

He is wild about color and has designed our eyes to see the beautiful colors of His world.

So.......let's enjoy this gift.

Allow time for a magnificent sunset to take your breath away.
Enjoy the variety of colors in flowers.
Tropical fish – oh my goodness. Incredible.
Study the beautiful color of your eyes.
And yes, laugh at the color of that zit on your chin!!

I know there’s a scientific explanation for all of this, but I like to give credit where credit is due.
God created our eyes to distinguish color.
He didn’t have to.

YAY!! and AMEN!!!!! much for my art lesson/spiritual meditation.
Have a great and COLORFUL day.
Psalm 139:13,14 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (NLV)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summertime...and The Livin' Ain't Easy

Another 110 degree day in Phoenix. So...what's new? Everyday is the same. HOT! Don't bother to listen to the weather report. It's always the same. This is the time of year Phoenicians forget why they moved here. Nevermind that eight months out of the year we have weather that many people would give their eye teeth for.

Here we are with yet another hot sweaty day. The monsoons have arrived so we have humidity to boot. We can’t even boast to the summertime visitors of the "dry heat" of which we're so proud. I still haven’t figured out why anyone vacations in Phoenix during the summer.

Today, even some of the birds, who are drinking from a source of water I've placed in the back yard, are panting. Well, I don't actually HEAR them panting, but they look like they’re panting. Especially the California thrashers, as they walk around with their beaks hanging open. So, I say they're panting.

I thank God I can jump from my air-conditioned house, to my air-conditioned car, to my air-conditioned office, or store, or theater, or whatever. Needless to say, we Phoenicians spend no more time than necessary outdoors during the summer.

Wait! Unfortunately, that last sentence isn’t true. I have visual reminders of this everyday. I’m speaking of the homeless. Not only do they battle the heat of the day, but often the temperature doesn’t get below 90 degrees at night. Yes, I know there are some who prefer to live the homeless life, but many are thrown into that lifestyle through an unexpected situation. My heart hurts for them.

I thank God for the organizations here in the valley to help. One that I’m familiar with has a different approach than feeding and giving shelter. It’s called The Open Table. They go beyond taking care of the necessities for comfort; they help people get back into a state of self-sufficiency.
You will find there website here

But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help--how can God's love be in that person? ~I John 3:17

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No Man is an Island

How many of us have passed a person on the street and looked away, not wanting to connect, not even acknowledging his presence? Instead, you might look at your watch, check you cell phone, busy yourself with adjusting your backpack, or just stare straight ahead. Why do we do this?

When you look at the big picture, you see how ridiculous it is. Afterall, here we are, two intelligent human beings sharing the same small space on this huge planet, at exactly the same time, and yet we act as if the other person doesn’t exist. We can't even say "Hello!".

I was reminded of this a week ago. I was enjoying a break from the desert heat at a beautiful lake in the mountains of Eastern Arizona. While walking up the stairs to the camp store to get an ice cream bar, I passed a gentleman coming down the stairs. I could tell by his manner that he had no intention of connecting with me. Well....I decided not to let that happen.

"Hello" I said. That was all. Just...Hello. He acknowledged my greeting with a smile and went on his way. It isn't much, but I feel it was a way to confirm to him that he is special enough for me to acknowledge his existence.

Just a simple, "Hello".
That's all it took.

How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1

Picture from

Friday, July 13, 2007


Poppies in Arizona Desert

It would seem that wildflowers are created for our enjoyment, but how many of them bloom and die never to be seen by the human eye? Perhaps instead, they bloom solely to please the Lord.

Maybe we could learn from them.

Matthew 6:28,29 And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shaped by the Potter

A few years ago I took a class in ceramics. I often enjoyed watching the advanced students work their creations on the wheel. It was exciting to see the end result … each creation was different. In fact, no two jars were exactly the same.

The clay is placed in the center of the wheel; just a mound of clay with no apparent shape. The potter sets the wheel spinning and gently begins to press and pinch the clay, and soon he sees a slight form emerge. He cannot continue to press and pinch or the jar will become unbalanced. To protect it from collapsing, he must often enclose the jar in the palms of his hands to keep it centered on the wheel. Through a process of pressing, pinching and protecting, the mound of clay becomes a one-of-a-kind treasure created by the potter.

An old worship chorus sings the words: “ are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me….” So, I considered what it would be like to be the clay.

First of all, being placed on a spinning wheel could be an unpleasant experience. By looking out horizontally, one could become dizzy and confused with one’s surroundings. But looking up, keeping the potter as a focal point, one finds stability and realizes the potter has everything under control.

Time for the shaping to begin…
Being pressed and pinched can be a bit uncomfortable, but trust the potter’s judgment. He knows that without the uncomfortable situations, the mound of clay will never become a masterpiece. He realizes just how much pinching and pressing the jar can handle and does not allow more than is necessary to protect it from breaking. Throughout the procedure, he is there with his hands gently around the jar to keep it secure.

The potter never leaves his creation unfinished. He has his finished product in mind and will not quit until it is completed to his satisfaction.

Aren’t we fortunate that our Potter is the Lord of the Universe.

.... As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand. ~Jeremiah 18:6

Grandma's Sanctuary

The year is 1950. A pleasant summer evening has arrived in the quiet little town of Mineral Point. The sun has finally hidden its face bringing an end to the warm humid day. A cool breeze is a welcomed relief.

In the kitchen, Grandma removes her apron and hangs it on a hook in the pantry. As she does every evening at this time, she heads for her favorite sitting spot... the big wooden rocker on the screened porch.

I watch her get settled as I sit cross-legged on the wicker loveseat while putting the finishing touches on my Magic Slate drawing. She is my most favorite person in the whole wide world. With child-like wonder, I watch her. How can she just sit there, doing nothing, saying nothing, just rocking? Isn't she bored? And my wonder intensifies as I see a faint smile appear on her face.

When I am eighty-two,
my hair will have lost its luster...
And I may wear the same dress three days in a row.

The big old wooden rocker
will be my sanctuary...
And I will sit for hours with my memories vividly painted on my eyes.

Loneliness may be my only company,
relentlessly holding me in its grasp.

But still...
I'll remember you...
and smile.

P.S. The old house is still standing on Fountain Street, but it saddens me to see that the porch has been removed. So many memories were birthed on that screened porch.
When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember that the dark days will be many. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:8

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My Father's Hand

The Lord brought me through a recent bout with cancer, so as a cancer survivor, the following means so much more to me now than it did when I wrote it many years ago. Oh, by the way, the photo is of my friend who also looked into cancer's ugly face. We are both praising God for his Amazing Grace.

My walk with God is like hiking a mountain trail. When my Father first suggests we climb to the crest together, I am like a child... running ahead... anxious for the adventure... impatient to see the beauty from the top.

The slope is gradual at first, and I enjoy my surroundings...taking time to pick the wildflowers...studying the sunbeams dancing through the trees...laughing as butterflies chase each other.

My father, happy to share in my joy, reminds me He has even greater things for me ahead.

So... we travel on... together.

After a few bends in the trail, the path begins to narrow and grow steep. Soon I become tired and stop to catch my breath. Father offers His big hand to help me, but I wish to make it on my own.

The woods have grown dense now....sunlight can't break through. Wildflowers along my way go unnoticed. Rocks grow out of the ground and cause me to stumble.

The higher we go, the steeper the climb. Tree roots stretch their fingers across my path...they seem to grab out at my feet as I pass. The obstacles are getting too great.

I stumble and fall again and again. Bruised and exhausted, I can't go on any longer.

My Father say, "Come child, we're almost there."

With arm outstretched I finally cry, "Then please Daddy...hold my hand"

Psalm 118:5,6 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and rescued me. The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid.

Friday, July 6, 2007

It's About Time

The title of my blog explains where I am in my life. Over the years I’ve collected many books about writing, viewed numerous websites about the subject, and have tried to keep a daily journal. Let me emphasize the word “tried.” My journal has many sections where whole months are absent of writing;
either because I can’t find the right time, the right environment, the right pen, the right chair, etc. Okay, let’s name it for
what it is…procrastination!

Well, it’s about time….to change. The kids are grown and gone, retirement is looking me in the face, and it’s time to make use of the last quarter of my life.

I’m expecting this new venture will be fun. There is no pressure to impress you with my sentence structure (what is a dangling participle anyway), my vocabulary, or an interesting storyline. There’s no stress to get a good grade or be accepted by a publisher. What freedom! I’m hoping my posts will be short, interesting, humorous, and maybe even profound at times.

Since this post is about time, I'm including some quotes on the subject, the first one from a favorite artist of mine, Georgia O’Keeffe:

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.”

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~~H. Jackson Brown

“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” ~~ Harvey MacKay

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

NOW is the time….my write.